Ohio

Adoption Laws

Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.06

An adoption petition may be granted only when written consent has been executed by all of the following unless consent is otherwise not required:

  • The mother
  • The father if:
    • The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother.
    • The minor is his child by adoption.
    • Prior to the date the petition was filed, a court determined that he has a parent-child relationship with the minor.
    • He acknowledged paternity of the child, and the acknowledgement of paternity has become final.
  • The putative father
  • Any person or agency having permanent custody of the minor or authorized to consent

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.06

A child who is age 12 or older must consent unless the court finds that it is in the child’s best interests to waive the requirement.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.07

Consent is not required of:

  • A parent who has failed to communicate or support the minor for at least 1 year
  • The putative father if:
    • He failed to register with the putative father registry within 30 days of the minor’s birth.
    • The court finds that he is not the father or he abandoned the minor or the minor’s mother.
  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
  • A parent who is married to the petitioner
  • A guardian of an incompetent parent or the child who is found to be withholding consent unreasonably
  • The adopted person’s spouse if the failure to consent is due to prolonged absence, unavailability, or incapacity
  • Any parent or guardian in a foreign country, if the adopted person has been released for adoption pursuant to the laws of that country in a form that satisfies the requirements in the United States
  • The father or putative father of a minor conceived as the result of rape
  • A court, agency, or person that fails to object within 14 days to a notice of a petition
  • Any guardian or other party who has temporary custody of the child

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.08(A)

The required consent to adoption may be executed at any time after 72 hours after the birth of a minor.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3107.08; 3107.081

The required consent to adoption shall be executed in the following manner:

  • If by the person to be adopted, in the presence of the court
  • If by an agency, by the executive head or other authorized representative in the presence of a person authorized to take acknowledgments
  • If by any other person, in the presence of the court or in the presence of a person authorized to take acknowledgments
  • If by a juvenile court, by appropriate order

A parent shall do all of the following as a condition of a court accepting the parent’s consent to the minor’s adoption:

  • Appear personally before the court
  • Sign the form prescribed in § 3107.083(A)(1)(a)
  • If the parent is the mother, complete and sign the form prescribed in § 3107.083(A)(1)(c)

The parents of a minor who is less than 6 months old may consent to the minor’s adoption without personally appearing before a court if both parents do all of the following:

  • Execute a notarized statement of consent to the minor’s adoption before the attorney arranging the adoption
  • Sign the form prescribed by § 3107.083

The court shall question the parent to determine that the parent understands the adoption process, the ramifications of consenting to the adoption, and that the parent’s consent to the adoption is made voluntarily.

If a minor is to be adopted by a stepparent, the parent who is not married to the stepparent may consent to the minor’s adoption without appearing personally before a court if the parent executes consent in the presence of a person authorized to take acknowledgments.

If a parent of a minor to be adopted resides in another State, the parent may consent to the minor’s adoption without appearing personally before a court if the parent executes consent in the presence of a person authorized to take acknowledgments.

Revocation of Consent Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.084

A consent to adoption is irrevocable and cannot be withdrawn after the entry of an interlocutory order or after the entry of a final decree of adoption when no interlocutory order has been entered. The consent of a minor is not voidable by reason of the minor’s age.

A consent to adoption may be withdrawn prior to the entry of an interlocutory order or prior to the entry of a final decree of adoption when no interlocutory order has been entered if the court finds after hearing that the withdrawal is in the best interests of the person to be adopted, and the court by order authorizes the withdrawal of consent. Notice of the hearing shall be given to the petitioner, the person seeking the withdrawal of consent, and the agency placing the minor for adoption.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Rev. Code Ann. § 2151.86; Admin. Code § 5101:2-42-18

A fingerprint-based criminal records check is required for a prospective foster parent and any person age 18 or older residing in the prospective foster parent’s home.

The department shall not issue a certificate authorizing a prospective foster caregiver to operate a foster home if the person or any person age 18 or older who resides with the prospective foster caregiver previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any of the crimes listed in § 109.572(A)(8), unless the person meets rehabilitation standards established in rules adopted under § 2151.86(F). The crimes listed include:

  • Murder, manslaughter, and assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual offenses, including rape, sexual battery, prostitution, and child pornography
  • Endangering children
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug trafficking, illegal manufacture of drugs, and illegal cultivation of marijuana

If any person cannot prove that he or she has resided in Ohio for the past 5 years, an FBI national records check will be requested.

In regulation: Prior to placing the child with the relative or nonrelative substitute caregiver, the agency shall check the child abuse/neglect records for the prospective caregiver and others residing within the home.

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Rev. Code Ann. § 2151.86

A fingerprint-based criminal records check is required for a prospective adoptive parent and any person age 18 or older residing in the prospective adoptive parent’s home. If any person cannot prove that he or she has resided in Ohio for the past 5 years, an FBI national records check will be requested.

No probate court shall issue a decree of adoption if the person or any person age 18 or older who resides with the prospective adoptive parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any of the crimes listed in § 109.572(A)(8), unless the person meets rehabilitation standards established in rules adopted under § 2151.86(F). The crimes listed include:

  • Murder, manslaughter, and assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual offenses, including rape, sexual battery, prostitution, and child pornography
  • Endangering children
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug trafficking, illegal manufacture of drugs, and illegal cultivation of marijuana

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Rev. Stat. § 2151.414

A court may terminate parental rights if it finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that it is in the best interests of the child and that any of the following apply:

  • The child is abandoned.
  • The child is orphaned, and there are no relatives of the child who are able to take permanent custody.
  • The child has been in out-of-home care for 12 months or more of a consecutive 22-month period, and the child cannot be placed with either of the child’s parents within a reasonable time or should not be placed with the child’s parents.
  • The parent has failed continuously and repeatedly to substantially remedy the conditions causing the child to be placed outside the child’s home.
  • Chronic mental illness, emotional illness, mental retardation, physical disability, or chemical dependency makes the parent unable to provide an adequate permanent home for the child.
  • The parent committed abuse against the child or caused or allowed the child to suffer neglect.
  • The parent has demonstrated a lack of commitment toward the child by failing to regularly support, visit, or communicate with the child when able to do so.
  • The parent has been convicted of an offense against the person, including endangering children, sexual assault, prostitution, aggravated menacing, domestic violence, and kidnapping, and the child or a sibling of the child was a victim of the offense, or the parent has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, a sibling of the child was the victim of the offense, and the parent who committed the offense poses an ongoing danger to the child or a sibling of the child.
  • The parent is incarcerated for an offense committed against the child or a sibling of the child.
  • The parent has been convicted of one of the following:
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter, and the victim was a sibling of the child or another child in the parent’s household
    • Assault, and the victim is the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the parent’s household
    • Endangering children, and the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the parent’s household is the victim
    • Rape, sexual battery, or other sexual offense, and the victim is the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the parent’s household
    • A conspiracy or attempt to commit, or complicity in committing, murder, manslaughter, or sexual offense
  • The parent has repeatedly withheld medical treatment or food from the child when the parent has the means to provide the treatment or food.
  • The parent has placed the child at substantial risk of harm two or more times due to alcohol or drug abuse and has rejected treatment two or more times.
  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent has had parental rights involuntarily terminated with respect to a sibling of the child, and the parent has failed to provide clear and convincing evidence to prove that he or she can provide a secure home for the child.
  • The parent is incarcerated and will not be available to care for the child for at least 18 months.
  • The parent is repeatedly incarcerated, and the repeated incarceration prevents the parent from providing care for the child.
  • The parent for any reason is unwilling to provide food, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities for the child or to prevent the child from suffering abuse or neglect.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Admin. Code § 5101:2-48-09

Each adoptive applicant and each adult household member of the applicant’s home shall be included in the study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 3107.031; 3107.014

An assessor shall conduct a home study for the purpose of determining whether a person seeking to adopt a child is suitable to adopt.

Only an individual who meets all of the following requirements may perform the duties of an assessor:

  • The individual must be in the employ of, appointed by, or under contract with a court, public children services agency, private child-placing agency, or private noncustodial agency.
  • The individual must be one of the following:
    • A professional counselor, social worker, or licensed marriage and family therapist
    • A licensed psychologist
    • A student working to earn a 4-year, post-secondary degree, or higher, in a social or behavior science, who conducts assessor’s duties under the supervision of a professional counselor, social worker, or licensed marriage and family therapist or psychologist
    • A civil service employee engaging in social work without a license
    • A former employee of a public children services agency who, while so employed, conducted the duties of an assessor

The individual must complete training in accordance with rules adopted under Rev. Code § 3107.015.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 3107.03; 3107.031; Admin. Code § 5101:2-48-09

The following persons may adopt:

  • A husband and wife together, at least one of whom is an adult
  • An unmarried adult
  • The unmarried minor parent of the child being adopted

The assessor shall not consider the person’s age when determining whether the person is suitable to adopt if the person is old enough to adopt.

In regulation:The child-placing agency shall provide preservice training to all adoptive applicants prior to approval of the home study. Preservice training shall include:

  • Agency policy and procedures
  • Child development
  • Attachment and separation
  • Dealing with behavioral challenges
  • Cultural issues
  • Caring for children who have been sexually abused
  • Adoption-related issues

The agency may waive components of the requirement for education and training if the assessor determines that the family has received training previously or the family has the skills to care for the needs of the child that will be placed in the home.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Admin. Code §§ 5101:2-48-09; 5101:2-48-12

The home study shall include:

  • Documentation of current marital status, if applicable
  • A financial statement that shows the household has an income sufficient to meet the basic needs of the household and to make timely payment of shelter costs, utility bills, and other debts
  • The report of any criminal records check
  • The results of a central registry of abuse and neglect for each adoptive applicant and each adult household member in every State in which the person has resided in the past 5 years
  • Face-to-face interviews with all members of the household older than age 4
  • A medical statement that documents that the applicant and all members of the household are free from any physical, emotional, or mental condition that would endanger children or seriously impair the ability of the household members to care for the adopted child
  • The names of three people unrelated to the applicant who do not reside with the applicant to serve as references
  • A favorable local or State fire safety inspection
  • Documentation the residence meets all safety standards
  • A completed water test by an approved Ohio water testing laboratory, if deemed necessary by the agency

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Admin. Code § 5101:2-48-10

The agency shall not approve an adoptive placement if the results of the criminal records check indicate that a prospective adoptive parent or, when applicable, any adult who resides with the prospective adoptive parent has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any offense listed in Admin. Code § 5101:2-48-10, Appendix A, including cruelty to animals, homicide, assault, kidnapping, sex offenses, arson, robbery, a weapons offense, or drug-related offenses.

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Admin. Code §§ 5101:2-48-09; 5101:2-48-12

Upon receipt of the completed adoption application, the agency shall initiate the home study process. The study must be completed and the applicant approved before the placement of an adoptive child.

The home study shall be updated every 2 years from the date of approval of the initial home study.

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 3107.101; 3107.12; 3107.13

No later than 7 days after an adoptive child is placed in a prospective adoptive home, the assessor shall begin monthly home visits in that home until the court issues a final decree of adoption. During the home visits, the assessor shall evaluate the progress of the placement in the prospective adoptive home and also shall make face-to-face contact with the prospective adoptive parent, the adoptive child, and all other children or adults residing in the home.

An assessor shall conduct a prefinalization assessment of the child and petitioner before a court issues a final decree of adoption. On completion of the assessment, the assessor shall prepare a written report that includes:

  • The adjustment of the child and the petitioner to the adoptive placement
  • The present and anticipated needs of the child and the petitioner for adoption-related services
  • The physical, mental, and developmental condition of the child
  • If known, the child’s birth family background
  • The reasons for the child’s placement with the petitioner, the petitioner’s attitude toward the proposed adoption, and the circumstances under which the child was placed in the home of the petitioner
  • The attitude of the child toward the proposed adoption, if the child’s age makes this feasible
  • If the child is an Indian child, how the placement complies with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
  • If known, the child’s psychological background, including prior abuse of the child and behavioral problems of the child

A final decree of adoption shall not be issued until the adoptive child has lived in the adoptive home for at least 6 months after placement, and the department or court has had an opportunity to observe or investigate the adoptive home.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 3107.101; 3107.12; 3107.13

The requirement for monthly home visits does not apply to an adoption by a stepparent whose spouse is a birth or adoptive parent of the adoptive child. The requirement for a prefinalization assessment does not apply to a stepparent adoption unless a court, after determining a prefinalization assessment is in the best interests of the child, orders that an assessor conduct a prefinalization assessment.

In the case of adoption by a stepparent, the final order of adoption shall not be issued until at least 6 months after the filing of the petition or until the child has lived in the home for at least 6 months.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Rev. Code § 5103.23

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.012

A foster caregiver may apply to obtain the services of an agency to arrange an adoption for the foster caregiver if he or she seeks to adopt the foster child who has resided in the foster caregiver’s home for at least 6 months.

The department shall prescribe an application for a foster caregiver to use. The application shall not require that the foster caregiver provide any information the foster caregiver already provided the department, or undergo an inspection the foster caregiver already underwent, to obtain a foster home certificate.

An agency that receives an application for adoption from a foster caregiver shall not require, as a condition for accepting or approving the application, that the foster caregiver undergo a criminal records check as a prospective adoptive parent. The agency shall inform the foster caregiver that the foster caregiver must undergo the criminal records check before a court may issue a final decree of adoption or interlocutory order of adoption.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.3516

A child who is younger than 30 days old may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.3516

The child’s parent may voluntarily deliver the child to a safe haven provider when the parent expresses no intent to return for the child.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.3516

The following persons, while acting in an official capacity, shall take possession of the child:

  • A peace officer on behalf of the law enforcement agency that employs the officer
  • A hospital employee on behalf of the hospital that has granted the person privilege to practice at the hospital or that employs the person
  • An emergency medical service worker on behalf of the emergency medical service organization that employs the worker or for which the worker provides services

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.3517

On taking possession of a child, a law enforcement agency, hospital, or emergency medical service organization shall do all the following:

  • Perform any act necessary to protect the child’s health or safety
  • Notify the public children’s services agency in the county where the agency, hospital, or organization is located that the child has been taken into possession
  • If possible, make forms available to the parent who delivered the child to gather medical information concerning the child and the child’s parents
  • If possible, make available to the parent who delivered the child written materials that describe services available to assist parents and newborns
  • If the child has suffered a physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child, attempt to identify and pursue the person who delivered the child

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Rev. Stat. § 2151.3523

A person or governmental entity that takes possession of a child or takes emergency temporary custody of and provides temporary emergency care for a child is immune from any civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of these actions, unless the person or entity has acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose.

A person or governmental entity that takes possession of a child or takes emergency temporary custody of and provides temporary emergency care for a child is immune from any criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of these actions, unless the person or entity has acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose.

The sections above do not create a new cause of action or substantive legal right against a person or governmental entity and do not affect any immunities from civil liability or defenses established by another section of law or available at common law to which a person or governmental entity may be entitled under circumstances not covered by this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 2151.3523; 2151.3524

A parent does not commit a criminal offense and shall not be subject to criminal prosecution for the act of voluntarily delivering a child. A person who delivers or attempts to deliver a child who has suffered any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child is not immune from civil or criminal liability for abuse or neglect.

A parent who voluntarily delivers a child has the absolute right to remain anonymous. A parent who voluntarily delivers a child may leave the place at which the parent delivers the child at any time after the delivery of the child.

A parent who delivers or attempts to deliver a child who has suffered any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child does not have the right to remain anonymous and may be subject to arrest.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 2151.3522; 2151.3528

A public children’s services agency or private child-placing agency that receives temporary custody of a deserted child shall prepare case plans, conduct investigations, conduct periodic administrative reviews of case plans, and provide services for the deserted child as if the child were adjudicated a neglected child.

If a child is adjudicated a deserted child and a person indicates to the court that the person is the parent of the child and that the person seeks to be reunited with the child, the court that adjudicated the child shall require the person, at the person’s expense, to submit to a DNA test to verify that the person is a parent of the child.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.055(C)

No petitioner, agency, or attorney shall make or agree to make any disbursements in connection with the minor’s permanent surrender, placement, or adoption other than for the following:

  • Physician expenses incurred on behalf of the birth mother or minor in connection with prenatal care, delivery, and confinement prior to or following the minor’s birth
  • Hospital or other medical facility expenses incurred on behalf of the birth mother or minor in connection with the minor’s birth
  • Expenses charged by the attorney arranging the adoption for providing legal services in connection with the placement and adoption
  • Temporary costs of routine maintenance and medical care for a minor if the person seeking to adopt the minor refuses to accept placement of the minor
  • Guardian ad litemfees incurred on behalf of the minor in any court proceedings
  • Foster care expenses incurred in connection with any temporary care and maintenance of the minor
  • Court expenses incurred in connection with the minor’s permanent surrender, placement, and adoption
  • Living expenses not exceeding $3,000 for the birth mother that are incurred during pregnancy through the 60th day after the minor’s birth

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.055(D)

Any expense not expressly permitted by the statute or any expense that the court finds unreasonable will be disallowed.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.055(C)

No person, agency, or attorney shall make any disbursements in connection with the surrender, placement, or adoption other than those specified by law.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.055(C)

No person shall make any disbursements in connection with the surrender of a child other than those specified by law.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.055(C)

Expenses charged by the agency arranging the adoption for providing services in connection with the permanent surrender and adoption, including the agency’s application fee and the expenses incurred by the agency pursuant to the home study, compiling the social and medical histories of the birth parents, prospective adoptive home visits, and the prefinalization assessment of the minor and petitioner are permitted.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.055(B), (C)

The agency or attorney that arranged the minor’s adoption shall file with the court a preliminary accounting estimate no later than the time the adoption petition is filed with the court. The agency or attorney that arranged the adoption also shall file a final accounting with the court before a final decree of adoption is issued.

The accounting shall specify all disbursements of anything of value the petitioner, agency, or attorney made and has agreed to make in connection with the minor’s permanent surrender and adoption. The agency or attorney shall include with a preliminary accounting estimate and a final accounting a written statement signed by the petitioner that the petitioner has reviewed the accounting and attests to its accuracy.

The agency or attorney shall file the final accounting with the court no later than 10 days prior to the date scheduled for the final hearing on the adoption. The court may not issue a final decree of adoption or finalize an interlocutory order of adoption of a minor until at least 10 days after the agency or attorney files the final accounting.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Rev. Code §§ 3111.01; 3111.03; 3107.01

The term ‘parent and child relationship’ means the legal relationship that exists between a child and the child’s parents and upon which the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. The parent and child relationship includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship. The parent and child relationship extends equally to all children and all parents, regardless of the marital status of the parents.

A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child under any of the following circumstances:

  • The man and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage or is born within 300 days after the marriage is terminated.
  • The man and the child’s mother attempted, before the child’s birth, to marry each other, the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following applies:
    • The marriage can only be declared invalid by a court, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the termination of the marriage.
    • The attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, and the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • An acknowledgment of paternity has been filed pursuant to § 3111.23.

The term ‘putative father’ means a man, including one under age 18, who may be a child’s father and to whom all of the following apply:

  • He is not married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s conception or birth.
  • He has not adopted the child.
  • He has not been determined, prior to the date a petition to adopt the child is filed, to have a parent and child relationship with the child by a court proceeding or an administrative agency proceeding.
  • He has not acknowledged paternity of the child pursuant to §§ 3111.21 to 3111.35.

Paternity Registry Rev. Code §§ 3107.061; 3107.062

A man who has sexual intercourse with a woman is on notice that if a child is born as a result and the man is the putative father, the child may be adopted without his consent pursuant to § 3107.07.

The Department of Job and Family Services shall establish a putative father registry. A putative father may register before or no later than 30 days after the birth of the child.

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Rev. Code §§ 3111.02; 3111.31

The parent and child relationship between a child and the natural father of the child may be established by an acknowledgment of paternity.

The Department of Job and Family Services shall prepare an acknowledgment of paternity affidavit that includes in boldface type at the top of the affidavit the rights and responsibilities of and the due process safeguards afforded to a person who acknowledges that he is the natural father of a child.

Required Information Rev. Code §§ 3107.062; 3111.31

To register in the putative father registry, a putative father must complete a registration form and submit it to the department. The registration form shall include:

  • The putative father’s name
  • The address or telephone number at which he wishes to receive notice of a petition to adopt the minor he claims as his child
  • The name of the mother of the minor

On receipt of a completed registration form, the department shall indicate on the form the date of receipt and file it in the putative father registry.

The affidavit for acknowledgment of paternity shall include all of the following:

  • The full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and address of each parent
  • The full name, date of birth, and the residence of the child
  • An affirmation by the mother that the information she supplied is true to the best of her knowledge and belief and that she is the natural mother of the child named on the form and assumes the parental duty of support of the child
  • An affirmation by the father that the information he supplied is true to the best of his knowledge and belief, that he has received information regarding his legal rights and responsibilities, that he consents to the jurisdiction of the courts of this State, and that he is the natural father of the child named on the form and assumes the parental duty of support of the child
  • The signatures of the mother of the child, the natural father, and the notary public
  • Any other evidence necessary to complete the new birth record that is required by the department by rule

Revocation of Claim to Paternity Rev. Code §§ 3111.27; 3111.28

For an acknowledgment of paternity to be rescinded, both of the following must occur:

  • Not later than 60 days after the date of the latest signature on the acknowledgment, one of the persons who signed it must do both of the following:
    • Request a determination under § 3111.38 of whether there is a parent and child relationship between the man who signed the acknowledgment and the child who is the subject of it
    • Give the office written notice of having complied with division (A)(1)(a) of this section and include in the notice the name of the child support enforcement agency conducting genetic tests to determine whether there is a parent and child relationship
  • An order must be issued under § 3111.46 determining whether there is a parent and child relationship between the man and the child.

If the office verifies compliance, and the notice was sent within the time limit required by this section, the office shall note in its records the date the notice was received and that the acknowledgment to which the notice pertains is subject to recission.

After an acknowledgment becomes final, a man presumed to be the father of the child who did not sign the acknowledgment, either person who signed the acknowledgment, or a guardian or legal custodian of the child may bring an action to rescind the acknowledgment on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. An action pursuant shall be brought no later than 1 year after the acknowledgment becomes final.

Access to Information Rev. Code § 3107.063

The department may provide a certified copy of the man’s registration form to:

  • The mother
  • An agency or attorney arranging a minor’s adoption

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement Citation: Rev. Code § 5103.17

Subject to § 5103.16, no person or government entity, other than a private child-placing agency or private noncustodial agency certified by the department, or a public children services agency, shall advertise that the person or government entity will adopt children, place children in foster homes, hold out inducements to parents to part with their offspring, or in any manner knowingly become a party to the separation of a child from the child’s parents or guardians, except through a juvenile court or probate court commitment.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.011(A)

A person seeking to adopt a minor shall utilize an agency or attorney to arrange the adoption. An attorney may not represent with regard to the adoption both the person seeking to adopt and the parent placing a child for adoption.

Any person may informally aid or promote an adoption by making a person seeking to adopt a minor aware of a minor who will be or is available for adoption.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?

Who May Adopt Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.03

The following persons may adopt:

  • A husband and wife together, at least one of whom is an adult
  • An unmarried adult or a married person singly if legally separated
  • The unmarried minor parent of the person to be adopted
  • A married adult without his or her spouse joining as a petitioner if any of the following apply:
    • The spouse is a parent of the person to be adopted and supports the adoption.
    • The petitioner and his or her spouse are separated.
    • The failure of the spouse to join in the petition or to support the adoption is found by the court to be by reason of prolonged unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances that make it impossible or unreasonably difficult to obtain either the support or refusal of the spouse.

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.02

Any minor may be adopted.

An adult may be adopted under the following conditions:

  • The adult is totally or permanently disabled.
  • The adult is determined to be a mentally retarded person.
  • The adult had established a relationship with the petitioner as a foster caregiver, kinship caregiver, or stepparent while a minor, and the adult consents to the adoption.
  • The adult was, at the time of his or her 18th birthday, in the permanent custody of or in a planned permanent living arrangement with a public children’s services agency or a private child-placing agency, and the adult consents to the adoption.
  • The adult is the child of the spouse of the petitioner, and the adult consents to the adoption.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.011

A person seeking to adopt a minor shall utilize an agency or attorney to arrange the adoption. Only an agency or attorney may arrange an adoption.

Any person may informally aid or promote an adoption by making a person seeking to adopt a minor aware of a minor who will be or is available for adoption.

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3107.66; 3107.47; 3107.49

Nonidentifying information is available to:

  • An adopted pe rson who is age 18 or older
  • An adoptive parent of a adopted person who is under age 18
  • An adoptive family member of a deceased adopted person
  • A birth parent of an adopted person who is age 18 or older
  • A birth sibling who is age 18 or older
  • A birth family member if the birth parent is deceased

Identifying information is accessible to:

  • An adopted person who is age 21 or older
  • An adoptive parent of an adopted person who is older than age 18 but younger than 21
  • The birth parent or adult birth sibling

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3107.66; 3107.60

An adopted person, an adoptive parent, or an adoptive family member may submit a written request to the agency or attorney who arranged the adoption or the probate court that finalized the adoption, for information about the adopted’s birth parent or birth sibling contained in the agency’s, attorney’s, or court’s adoption records that is nonidentifying information.

A birth parent, birth sibling, or birth family member may submit a written request for information about the adopted person or adoptive parent that is nonidentifying information.

The term ‘nonidentifying information’ means one of the following:

  • In relation to a birth parent, any information that is not identifying information, including all of the following:
    • A birth parent’s age at the time the child was adopted
    • The medical and genetic history of the birth parents
    • The age, sex, and medical and genetic history of an adopted person’s birth siblings and extended family members
    • A person’s heritage and ethnic background, educational level, general physical appearance, religion, occupation, and cause of death
    • Any information that may be included in a social and medical history as specified § 3107.09(B)-(C)
  • In relation to an adoptive parent, any information that is not identifying information, including all of the following:
    • An adoptive parent’s age at the time of adoption
    • An adoptive sibling’s age at the time of adoption
    • The heritage, ethnic background, religion, educational level, and occupation of the adoptive parent
    • General information known about the well-being of the adopted person before and after the adoption

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Rev. Code §§ 3107.47; 3107.49

For adoptions completed before January 1, 1964, adopted persons have access upon request to the adoption file maintained by the Department of Health.

For adoptions completed between 1964 and 1996:

  • Any birth parent or sibling who wishes to authorize the release of identifying information shall file a release form with the department. A release may be filed with the department at any time. The department shall establish and maintain a file of releases.
  • At age 21, an adopted person may file a petition with the Probate Court that finalized his or her adoption and inquire if such a form has been filed. In the event of a match, identifying information may be released to the adopted person.
  • The court that decreed the adoption may order that the contents be made open for inspection or available for copying.

For adoptions completed after 1996:

  • A birth parent may file with the department a denial of release form that shall be placed in the adoption file. The birth parent may rescind an authorization of release form and rescind a denial of release form as many times as the birth parent wishes.
  • An adopted person age 21 or older, or an adoptive parent of an adopted person at least age 18 but under age 21, may submit a request to the Department of Health for a copy of the contents of the adopted person’s adoption file. If there is not an effective denial of release form for either birth parent in the adopted person’s adoption file, the department shall provide the adopted person or adoptive parent a copy of the contents of the adopted person’s adoption file.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Rev. Code § 3705.12

Original birth records of persons whose adoptions were decreed prior to January 1, 1964, that are in the possession of the Department of Health shall be open to inspection by and either shall be copied or made available for copying by, the adopting parents, the adopted person, or any lineal descendant of the adopted person, upon request.

For adoptions completed between 1964 and 1996, the original birth record and such papers shall not be open to inspection, be copied, or be available for copying, except as follows:

  • The department shall copy and provide an agency with a copy of the original birth record upon the presentation by the agency of a certified copy of an order issued by a probate judge under § 3107.41.
  • The department shall inspect the file to determine the court involved in an adoption for the purpose of § 3107.09(D) or 3107.091 or provide the name of that court to an agency under the circumstances described in § 3107.41(B)(2)(b).
  • The department shall provide an adopted person a copy of the contents of the adoption file pursuant to § 3107.38(B)(1).
  • The court that decreed the adoption may order that the contents be made open for inspection or available for copying.

For adoptions completed after 1996, the department shall make the file’s contents available to the adopted person or adoptive parent in accordance with § 3107.47.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Ohio Adoption Registry, Ohio Department of Health -- Vital Statistics

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.15

Except with respect to the spouse of the petitioner and relatives of the spouse, the final adoption decree terminates all legal relationships between the adopted person and the adopted person’s birth parents or other legal parents and relatives, for all purposes including inheritance.

If a parent of a child dies without the relationship of parent and child having been previously terminated and a spouse of the living parent thereafter adopts the child, the child’s rights from or through the deceased parent for all purposes, including inheritance, are not restricted or curtailed by the adoption.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Rev. Code § 3107.15

The adoption decree creates the relationship of parent and child between the petitioner and the adopted person, as if the adopted person were a birth descendant of the petitioner, for all purposes including inheritance. A person who is age 18 or older at the time the person is adopted, and the adopted person’s lineal descendants, are not included as recipients of gifts, devises, bequests, or other transfers of property for purposes of inheritance, unless the document or instrument expressly includes the adopted person by name or expressly states that it includes a person who is age 18 or older at the time the person is adopted.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Rev. Code § 2107.34

If, after making a last will and testament, a testator adopts a child and no provision has been made in such will or by settlement for such pretermitted child or heir, or for the issue thereof, the will shall not be revoked. Unless it appears by such will that it was the intention of the testator to disinherit such pretermitted child or heir, the bequests and legacies granted by such will, except those to a surviving spouse, shall be abated proportionately, or in such other manner as is necessary to give effect to the intention of the testator as shown by the will, so that such pretermitted child or heir will receive a share equal to that which such person would have been entitled to receive out of the estate if such testator had died intestate with no surviving spouse, owning only that portion of the testator’s estate not bequeathed to or for the use and benefit of a surviving spouse. If such child or heir dies prior to the death of the testator, the issue of such deceased child or heir shall receive the share the parent would have received if living.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

These issues are not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Rev. Code § 3107.18(A)

A court decree establishing the relationship of parent and child by adoption, issued pursuant to due process of law by a court of any jurisdiction outside this State, whether within or outside the United States, shall be recognized in this State, and the rights and obligations of the parties as to all matters within the jurisdiction of this State shall be determined as though the decree were issued by a court of this State.

A decree or certificate of adoption that is issued under the laws of a foreign country and that is verified and approved by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service* shall be recognized in this State.

[*As of March 1, 2003, the responsibility for providing immigration-related services was transferred from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The statutes do not yet reflect this change.]

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

Rev. Code § 3107.18(A)-(B)

Nothing in this section prohibits a court from issuing a final decree of adoption or interlocutory order of adoption for a person the petitioner has adopted pursuant to a decree or certificate of adoption recognized in this State that was issued outside the United States.

If a child born in a foreign country is placed with adoptive parents or an adoptive parent in this State for the purpose of adoption, and if the adoption previously has been finalized in the country of the child’s birth, the adoptive parent or parents may bring a petition in the probate court in their county of residence requesting that the court issue a final decree of adoption or an interlocutory order of adoption pursuant to § 3107.14. In a proceeding on the petition, proof of finalization of the adoption outside the United States is prima facie evidence of the consent of the parties who are required to give consent even if the foreign decree or certificate of adoption was issued with respect to only one of two adoptive parents who seek to adopt the child in this State.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Rev. Code § 3107.18(C)

At the request of a person who has adopted a person pursuant to a decree or certificate of adoption recognized in this State that was issued outside the United States, the court of the county in which the person making the request resides shall order the Department of Health to issue a foreign birth record for the adopted person under § 3705.12(A)(4).

The court may specify a change of name for the child and, if a physician has recommended a revision of the birth date, a revised birth date. The court shall send to the department with its order a copy of the foreign adoption decree or certificate of adoption and, if the foreign decree or certificate of adoption is not in English, a translation certified as to its accuracy by the translator and provided by the person who requested the order.

Source

Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [1]

References